The primary goal of NSF I-Corps is to foster entrepreneurship that will lead to the commercialization of technology that has been supported previously by NSF-funded research.
- The approach to entrepreneurship uses techniques developed to validate each commercial opportunity in a recognized, effective way: customer and business model development
- The vehicle for commercialization activities will most often be start-ups founded by the I-Corps participants; successful I-Corps projects will be prepared for business formation
- The I-Corps programs feed the NSF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs
- NSF will work with the private sector to bring additional resources to the table (in the form of partnerships and finance), when warranted
There are three distinct components of I-Corps: Teams, Nodes and Sites. I-Corps Teams are composed of the principal investigator(s) (PI), an entrepreneurial lead (EL), and a mentor. The I-Corps Nodes serve as hubs for education, infrastructure and research that engage academic scientists and engineers in innovation; they also deliver the I-Corps Curriculum to I-Corps Teams. The I-Corps Sites are academic institutions that catalyze the engagement of multiple, local teams in technology transition and strengthen local innovation.
More about I-Corps is available in the Transitioning Technologies section and the Innovation Ecosystem section.